One of the best habits you can develop is the habit of reading.
Below is a mix of books I couldn’t live without during PA school and others are books I have personally read (or listened to) over the last several years. Many of these books have helped shape my perspectives on medicine, science and the world. I add to this list regularly.
Books that are labeled with ** are ones I highly recommend for anyone pursuing or in a medical profession.
Please see my Review Books page for recommended PANCE and PANRE prep books.
Seriously, who doesn’t love a good pocketbook. As long as you don’t lose your short white coat these pocketbooks should last for years. I still have mine from PA school in my office drawer. These are the three “must haves”.
The Tarascon Pharmacopoeia is the one pocketbook I cannot live without. Although, after PA school I have transitioned to their amazing iOS app the small pocketbook is something I still recommend to all of my students. The pediatric dosing instructions alone make it worth every penny. Yes, you can use free apps such as Epocrates, but after 11 years Tarascon is still my go-to source for prescribing and I wouldn’t leave home without it.
The Sanford Guide is a wonderful little resource packed full of information that goes far beyond antibacterial treatments and causative bacterial agents. My only regret as a student was that I didn’t spend enough time understanding the book prior to using it. Grab a copy, spend 30 minutes fully grasping its utility and you will carry it with you through retirement. They also have a wonderful iOS app.
This is a classic! Great quick guide to SOAP notes, notes for surgery or OBGYN, quick reference to review of systems and physical exam. Also a handy visual acuity eye chart and other great quick reference info. I used this daily during my PA school rotations and stashed it in my desk drawer after graduation. I just recently pulled it out again and couldn’t believe all the useful information.
GREAT BOOKS FOR YOUR DIDACTIC YEAR
I love books that take complex concepts and make them incredibly simple. These are winners in every sense of the word. The Costanzo Physiology book listed below has changed a bit over the years, but I still reference this book from time to time and find it gives the most straight forward, easy to understand explanations of some of the most complex physiologic processes such as acid base disorders and respiratory physiology. The diagrams are priceless!
PANCE AND PANRE REVIEW BOOKS
FOR ASPIRING PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS
Self Published Books Written by Physician Assistants
FAMILY PRACTICE ROTATION
I am a big fan of the Blueprints series. I used them mostly as an adjunct to study for my post-rotational exams. That being said, I also found them to be a valuable tool for PANCE preparation. Check the publication year before purchasing on Amazon, I have noticed there tend to be several options and some are in need of updating.
The Harriet Lane Handbook and Nelson Pediatrics are “gold standards”. The Blueprint series makes for a nice and concise review prior to examinations.
My Big List of Books
Below is a comprehensive list of books that I have read over the last several years and would recommend. Some are based on medicine and others cover topics ranging from personal finance to social justice. Most are non-fiction.
Medical Books That Will Make You a Better Person and Provider
Functional and Integrative Medicine
- Banker to the Poor – Muhammed Yunus
- Half the Sky – Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide – Nicholas Kristof
- Me to We – Finding Meaning in a Material World – Marc and Craig Kielburger
- Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children – John Woods
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
- Night – Elie Wiesel
- The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less – Barry Schwartz
- Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
- The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
- Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work – Chip and Dan heath
- Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
- How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Dale Carnegie
- Happier – Tal Ben-Shahar
- Eat That Frog – Brian Tracy
- The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
- Mastery – Robert Greene
- Talent is Overrated – Colvin, Geoff
Personal Finance & Investing
- The Investors Manifesto – William J. Berstein
- Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant – Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – John C. Bogle
- Your Money Ratios – Charles Farrell
Recommended Reading for Young Investors
- If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly, a free starter book on personal finance by respected author William Bernstein.
- Learn the importance of controlling spending. The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas Stanley and William Danko
- Learn financial basics. Common Sense on Mutual Funds by Jack Bogle
- Learn financial history. Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward Chancellor and The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth
- Learn about yourself and behavioral biases. Your Money and Your Brain by Jason Zweig
- Learn more about the nuts and bolts of investing. How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan Roth and All About Asset Allocation by Rick Ferri.
- It’s Not About The Bike – Lance Armstrong
- Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
- Eat and Run – Scott Jurek
- A Life Without Limits – Chrissie Wellington
- Body by Science – John R. Little
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell
- The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century – Thomas Friedman
- Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely
- Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything – Stephen Dubner, Steven Levitt
- Germs, Guns and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
- The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki
- Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet – Jeffrey Sachs
- The Long Tail – Chris Anderson
- New Rules for the New Economy – Kevin Kelly
- David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
- The Quants: Scott Patterson
- Richistan: – Robert Frank
Medicine – some of my favorites
- Differential Diangosis in Primary Care – R. Douglas Collins
- Physiology: with Student Consult Online Access
- Approach to Internal Medicine – David Hui
- Pathophysiology of Heart Disease – Leonard Lily
- Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple – Mark Gladwin
- Fundamentals of Neurologic Disease – Larry Davis
- Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopeia – Richard J Hamilton
- The ICU Book – Paul Marino
- Evidence-Based Physical Diagnosis – Steven McGee
- The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis – David Simel
- Users’ Guides to the Medical Literature: Essentials of Evidence-Based Clinical Practice – Gordon Guyatt